September 2nd, 2010
12:18 PM ET
God didn't create universe, Stephen Hawking argues
God did not create the universe, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book that aims to banish a divine creator from physics.
Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.
"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going," he writes.
His book - as the title suggests - is an attempt to answer "the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything," he writes, quoting Douglas Adams' cult science fiction romp, "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
He co-wrote the book with science writer Leonard Mlodinow.
His answer is "M-theory," which, he says, posits 11 space-time dimensions, "vibrating strings, ... point particles, two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space."
He doesn't explain much of that in the excerpt, which is the introduction to the book.
But he says he understands the feeling of the great English scientist SIr Isaac Newton that God did "create" and "conserve" order in the universe.
It was the discovery of other solar systems outside our own, in 1992, that undercut a key idea of Newton's - that our world was so uniquely designed to be comfortable for human life that some divine creator must have been responsible.
But, Hawking argues, if there are untold numbers of planets in the galaxy, it's less remarkable that there's one with conditions for human life.
And, indeed, he argues, any form of intelligent life that evolves anywhere will automatically find that it lives somewhere suitable for it.
From there he introduces the idea of multiple universes, saying that if there are many universes, one will have laws of physics like ours - and in such a universe, something not only can, but must, arise from nothing.
Therefore, he concludes, there's no need for God to explain it.
But some of Hawking's Cambridge colleagues said the physicist has missed the point.
"The 'god' that Stephen Hawking is trying to debunk is not the creator God of the Abrahamic faiths who really is the ultimate explanation for why there is something rather than nothing," said Denis Alexander.
"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our scientific knowledge.
"Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative," said Alexander, director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.
And Fraser Watts, an Anglican priest and Cambridge expert in the history of science, said that it's not the existence of the universe that proves the existence of God.
But, he said, "a creator God provides a reasonable and credible explanation of why there is a universe, and ... it is somewhat more likely that there is a God than that there is not. That view is not undermined by what Hawking has said."
Hawking's book will be published on September 7 in the United States and September 9 in the United Kingdom.
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Jesus Christ created the universe.
You know, even for a troll you're too easy
@you are all wrong
You said, "Jesus Christ created the universe"
How do you know Jesus exists?
David and all...*S*..I have great confidence ( FAITH) that the Bible is Gods word revealed to men by HIM to write and kept from being destroyed by HIM..I have some reasons to back up this confidence, and here's a few reasons. First of all it CLAIMS to be GODS Word...
This is long...but, you asked if I had any proof...it took time to put this together...I hope you read what I think is proof to non believers...however, I simply have great confidence that it is. I am amazed however at what is happening politically goes along with what Gods Word predicted..many years ago....
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is PROFITABLE for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" —2nd Timothy 3:16 ( I think someone here said the writers made a profit from the book...and maybe, but not the kind of profit you think)
Archaeology is in agreement with the Word of God. Not one spadeful of dirt has ever been uncovered to disprove the Word of God. In fact, many Archaeological expeditions have provided substantial evidence in support of Biblical claims. We don't need Archeology to prove the Bible, the Bible is evidence enough by itself. Yet, here are more proofs if you need them.
The Bible is scientifically accurate. Isaiah 40:22 declares that the earth is round. Leviticus 17:11 declares that the life is in the blood. For centuries doctors foolishly drained the blood out of their patients resulting in certain death. The Bible also mentions astronomy, Job 9:9 mentions Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades. Proverb 17:22 teaches that good health is directly linked to being happy. Psychiatrists offices are overflowing today with the stressed out people. The Bible teaches that happiness can only come from being saved and living for the Truth of God's Word. That's where our true happiness comes from..having a personal relationship with our creator, GOD.
The Bible was miraculously written. The Bible was written over a 1,500 year period by 40 different men as God's Holy Spirit breathed the very words written. There is NO earthly way possible that so many men (most of whom never met each other), could have written so many different books in different styles that all perfectly merge into one meaningful Book, but with God all things are possible!!!
Here are some prophecies about what is happening today...made HUNDREDS of years ago...
THIS IS TRYING TO BE DONE even as we type!!!
Israel would be partitioned by other nations. (Joel 3:2; Daniel 11:39) this has been a top priority for the United Nations since Israel's statehood. Currently, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and Gaza, have been divided up into Jewish and Palestinian settlements.
Literal Babylon (formerly called Babel) would reemerge in the land of Shinar – known today as Iraq. (Zechariah 5:11; Genesis 10:10; Genesis 11:1-9; Isaiah 13) Saddam Hussein spent over 20 years and many hundreds of millions of dollars in rebuilding the city of Babylon.
The Euphrates River would be dried up. (Revelation 16:12) Today, the massive Ataturk Dam in Turkey, completed in 1990, can hold back the Euphrates to a trickle.
Asia (the kings from the east) would be capable of deploying a 200 million man army during earth's final days. (Revelation 9:14-16; 16:12) Bear in mind, in Jesus's day, there were only an estimated 170 to 400 million people on the entire planet.
The possession of Jerusalem would be at the center of international turmoil. (Zechariah 12:3) Almost daily the world news reports on the conflict over Jerusalem.
These are just a FEW...just watch the news and remember what God said would happen....Gods Word is HIS...
A fool says in his heart "There is no God."
May God remove the scales from their eyes.
I thought we had free will? If we do, than how can you pray for God to make us believe something? Did God make you believe in him and the bible?
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.” Yoda
There! Proof that the Force is real!
We do have free will. If you notice, I didn't ask for God to force anyone to do anything. You're looking at it as slavery... what I asked for was an act of revelation, of liberation, and of hope. We could never find God if he never took the initiative. Thankfully our God is a loving God and reveals himself to us.
So if I take the initiative and seek the truth, then whatever I find is what God wants me to see?
Can I take what you are saying that way or does God show me the limits of humanity in order that I might seek the truth and end up an agnostic anyway? Why has God made me an agnostic?
If I tell you that I am agnostic and I see the intelligence of acknowledging possibilities while trying to determine probabilities, then would you understand what I am saying?
As for your implied religious views – I am curious as to how you use logic to explain a falsehood. And who is likely to want to do such a thing in the first place.
You said, "We do have free will."
Actually, if god is all knowing, we don't have free will. Everything is predestined.
whoever says, "You fool!" shall be in danger of hell fire (Matt 5:22).
You said "May God remove the scales from their eyes."
It sounded like you asked, prayed, that God change skeptics in order for them to believe as you do. Just go "poof!", "Now you're a believer!" and I asked how would that be free will?
However, if you were just asking God to "give us a sign", that would imply that you believers are given more information than God chooses to disclose to the rest of the population, right? God would be hand-picking who he wants to be followers then, like giving directions to a private party only to a select few, and we skeptics would be fully justified in not knowing that there was a party at all, right?
So, what you are really saying is that he has revealed himself to you, and you wish that he reveal himself to us as well. Sure, but why limit it to just a select few? Why not ask him to make some compelling evidence for his existence that scientists can use to prove his being real, and that he created the universe, and anything else that the bible tells you. If such evidence existed, we would believe, and that way nobody would have any excuse for not believing.
God has revealed himself to ALL of humanity through the person of Jesus Christ. Some have seen Jesus, heard his words and acknowledged them as truth, while others have unfortunately decided they don't need a Savior. I pray for all of those who do not realize the result of rejecting the Christ. And I am also quite happy to talk with any such people who are curious about the Christian faith...
In terms of free will I have heard it said that we do not have free will because we are enslaved to sin. In a sense that is true. But we have free will when it comes to what we do with our lives. We can choose God or we can choose ourselves. There is no other option. David J, you said that we do not have free will because God is all knowing. Just because he knows what choices we make, that does not mean we do not have the choices to begin with. Does that make sense?
You posted, "But we have free will when it comes to what we do with our lives. We can choose God or we can choose ourselves. There is no other option."
But there are other options. You yourself have chosen one of them. You choose to let religious dogma rule your whole life and every decision (when you remember to check) instead of choosing a direct connection to God.
You did not choose God, you chose the contradictory and nonsensical teachings of men who wrote crazy things.
In doing so, you also did not choose yourself, for you have handed your "soul" and motivations over to their fabricated teachings.
To get around this glaring mistake in available choices, you will probably say that those "teachings of men" were "inspired" by God, yet the result is contradictory and nonsensical rules and interpretations – all given and produced by "men".
Is God contradictory and nonsensical? Or is that known to be a human trait?
How, then, can your claim of "inspiration" stand?
You chose wrong, but don't worry, there's a lot of other people in the same boat as you. The only problem is that now you are a person who has contradictory and nonsensical motivations over and above what you started with.
How nonsensical of you.
God is not about what we can prove. He is a personality who cares about all of us, personally. If God was conceptually fully within our grasp, he would not be God. But that does not even matter. There is peace available in God that is beyond words. I wish that for each of you.
I wish clarity of thought and truth to everybody. This wish opposes yours.
You said, "There is peace available in God that is beyond words. I wish that for each of you"
But which god is the true god? The believers of every faith seem to feel this peace. Which god is real?
As far as I'm concerned, you just won the battle between sense and foolishness. Good post!
Hmmm... where to start...
I can't say I like the idea of science arguing whether or not god exists. I do agree with Mr Hawking that the universe as we understand it does not need god to exist. It can handle itself just fine on its own. And just because we have not arrived at a place where we have a theory of everything that will finally determine if god exists, it does not mean that we will never arrive at that point. Or that we shouldn't try to.
My position is that philosophy and science travel in parallel lines that shouldn't cross. And while I can see that Hawking's position of a god independent universe could be welcomed by atheists, I'm not sure this declaration lends creedence to their position. I'm not sure it hurts them either. It feels like a non-statement. But it's nice to hear that one of the greatest minds of our, or any time, agrees with the idea that the universe could have come into being without a god whom we probably could never understand or whose motives are unknowable. It certainly would simplify things and take all the quibbling of my god vs your god out of the picture.
Of course the author of the article doesn't present much evidence from the book. And I haven't read it myself. That makes me very hesitant to accept the article at face value.
Of course the rebuttals are kind of out there too. Father Fraser is commenting out of nothing that it's more likely there is a god than not. That seems to be an arrogant position without a convincing basis.
Oh well... maybe it's all 42 anyway. BTW does that mean I'm now in a cult cuz I like Douglas Adams? Now where did I put that towel?
I don't know, are you a hoopy frood, or Dirk Gently? 🙂
Just whistlin' innocently
@ Kate: Today I feel I'm just a whale falling through space... but at least I proved gravity exists...
Oh no, not again? 🙂
"that, given the existence of gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing"
Gravity just a given? That's a hell of a given. To put it in simplified terms what invented gravity?
Mass attraction ... which sounds to me like it sets up a chicken and egg scenario to be honest, but I'm not Stephen Hawking so I'll take his word for it 😛
Were choking ourselves with CO2, the rich languishing in their excess, the poor not having enough to eat, and here we are burning our brains on a god/no-god discourse till the end of time (if it even has one). Foolishness!
I haven't read all the comments, but the ones I have read I'd love to reply too. In generalization, and not speaking to anyone specificly, first of all, the fact this man is in a wheelchair, is not God's doing at alll. You can read right in Genesis that he created this world to be perfect...Though, man failed when tempted by Satan. Why, you ask, would God create man, in His very own image, if he kenw he would fail? Becaue I can imagine Him sitting in Heaven, the angels he created worshiping Him, and God thinking to himself, I'd love to have someone who CHOOSES me, not someone who HAS to love me.
In sinning, and excepting Satan's temptation, it opened up a door for every human being to choose God, the road that leads to Life, or Satan, who leads only to destruction. He's very good at decieving, and he will be until Christ rules on the Earth, and creates a new Heaven and Earth.
Now, looking at comments that don't believe any of this is true, I'm not going to sit and tell you what I believe is better, or true, seeing as that would defeat the whole purpose of my Christianity. Jesus chose to die for you and me, but it isn't my choice if you believe that. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus\God. It's loving Him with all our hearts, even though we fail. Jesus life being taken for us, of His own choosing, is the only payment, and the eternal payment for sin.
I see so many comments asking why this man isn't healed, if there is a God...Why so many people are ill, dying, disfigured, or being persecuted.
Persecusion is right in the Bible, and God told us we'd go through it in His word. He never said it would be easy, but that He'd be with us always.
Remember, that miracles in the Bible, always started with those people having faith.
Faith, is what's missing from the equation.
In Respect of Everyone's Beliefs, I still leave mine,
Very good recitation of the bible mixed in with your own beliefs. Where exactly are you *leaving* your beliefs by the way.....?
You said, "Why, you ask, would God create man, in His very own image"
I've wondered about something for awhile Sarah. Why would god create man with Nip ples? It would make sense if we evolved, but god must have known, men weren't going to nurse. So why do men have nip ples?
... actually, I don't think my reply to your point would make it past the filter, too graphic 🙂
Reply up on my site, linkage in name
GOD created your science..thats why SCIENCE can't believe in God...for its by faith, which you don't have! Pretty clever of him to put you that don't believe to the test,huh?
GOD created a science so imperfect that it can't detect him, supposedly the biggest, most clearly evident thing there is. That's like creating a telescope that makes things appear smaller. Not such a great creator, is he?
Out of curiosity, has anyone figured out why this post is tagged under "Culture Wars"?
Now, I do love you Kate. Thank you for your service to our country. God or nothing bless you. 🙂
I love how all of these horribly under-qualified, undereducated people posting here think they have somehow outsmarted Hawking.
I guess that would also go for the really smart people here who are trying to quallify his theory.
Better educated people would be able to understand his reasoning, right? Point is, less educated people should accept that this is above their capability to follow and remain silent on the subject. Simple, if you know little about advanced physics why assume you can criticize the man's work?
Maybe we should rename the comments portion to "Stephen Hawking didn't create the Universe, argues God"?
Just sayin' 🙂
The reason human limbs can not grow, is due to biological factors. However, regenerative medicine is proving that the possibilty of growing new limbs, may not be far off. This is due to a process called ECM technology. CBS did a story on it, I think that God operates thru medicine, and to me it just proves nothing is impossible.
Here is the video, which I think quite explains the process of this wonder:
It's too bad that God's enemies are fighting His gift of stem cell research. They will pay for that sin someday. 😉
You said, " I think that God operates thru medicine, and to me it just proves nothing is impossible."
My mother believes this also. I have a problem with it.
If god operates through medicine, why do we suffer for so long before he leads us to a solution? If medicine and science is on their own, then that explains it. But if you have an all knowing god directing discoveries...
Smallpox plagued human populations for thousands of years. Researchers who examined the mummy of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses V (died 1157 BCE) observed scarring similar to that from smallpox on his remains. Ancient Sanskrit medical texts, dating from about 1500 BCE, describe a smallpox-like illness. Smallpox was likely present in Europe by about 300 CE.
Some estimates indicate that 20th century worldwide deaths from smallpox numbered more than 300 million. The last known case of wild smallpox occurred in Somalia in 1977. Source: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
If an all knowing, all loving god is directing medical discoveries, then why did he allow this disease to cause suffering for so long?
When will He direct man to cures for cancer, HIV, etc.?
Disease becomes resistant to drugs, god has given man, to fight the disease. Why would that happen? Whose side is god on?
I'm sorry FYI. I see far more evidence that there is no god involved in medical discoveries.
What evidence did steven provide to prove this theory? By the way you people who constantly complain about the bible being written by men, isn't steven a man who's ideas you have no trouble believing. Also, if you can believe the something just always exsisted ie the universe, can't the something that always exsisted be God?
What the F....? What are you thinking man....?
Science and religion are not in the same sphere..... Toooooo tired to begin to even tackle this one... Kate...?, David, Verify...?
It's simple. if it can't be expressed mathematically, it is opinion.
Wait peace2all isn't stevens idea a theory? And he is a man right? You have to exersise faith to believe his idea right? Reread the artical some of his fellow scienctist disagree with him. As far as Kate I was kidding because she said she had me pegged. She has no idea who I am.
I'm sure his conclusions will be published, and summaries of the peer reviews will also be available. If there is anything wonky with his conclusion I'm sure some Christian with an advanced physics degree...right! Ah! Well, somebody in the scientific community will criticize him for it.
The bible is most definitely not a science work, Hawking's writings are. His can be supported through experimentation, the bible cannot. His is an explanation of what we can observe of the universe, whereas the bible is a collection of folk wisdom, tribal legends, and pure mythology.
God, by definition, is supposed to be the most advanced being ever. Does religion even attempt to explain how he could have been around before the universe came into existence? Theology says it happened and believers just accept it without even thinking about it. You just accept it like Trekkies accept matter transportation and warp speed travel.
For some reason you just reminded me of Monty Python's "Bring our your dead!" skit
@kate & @NL
Thank you.... gettin' a bit tired with the fundies today for some reason.
I see lots of people upset that the non-physics crowd has been commenting, but this statement goes beyond physics into theology. Science does not tell us everything. Science is a tool for understanding the way things work, but it will never be able to define how we ought to live, what the meaning of life really is, and what morality means/is derived from, etc. Theology has its own approach – which is also valid. According to the Bible, God created the universe. So instead of simply stating that the Bible is hogwash because Hawking knows everything about physics in the universe, how about we approach the claims of the Bible as a completely different issue, accepting that there are scholars in both arenas who are very resourceful in their fields.
You said, "how about we approach the claims of the Bible as a completely different issue"
Okay, how do you feel about the following:
A talking snake, fruits that give knowledge and eternal life, a global flood that required 2 of every animal be collected, men who lived for centuries, a talking donkey, a tower god was afraid might reach heaven, a man who was eaten by a fish and spit out alive, 3 days later, unicorns, satyrs, a leviathan that god creates and then defeats in battle, a zombie messiah that hasn't been seen in 2000 years. Have I missed something? Oh well, this is a good start.
Well, these are the claims of the bible. I think they speak for themselves.
I think it's a hoot that the fundies can believe this garbage, and totally reject Hawking's theory, calling it ridiculous.
Theology, getting it's knowledge from the bible, also argued that Galileo simply had to be wrong in his findings that the earth was not the center of the universe. This argument reminds me of that.
As you said, science is a tool for understanding the way things work. Well, the universe is essentially a thing, not just a concept like morality, and science can give us the proper understanding of how it works, and part of that is how it originated. You can get your meaning for life, your morality, and ideas of how you ought to live from whatever book you like, but how the universe began is a scientific question, and can be answered through science.
What you are arguing is not that all theology is valid, but only that conservative Christian theology grounded in the bible is valid. There are hundreds of other creation myths attributing the formation of the universe to animal spirits and other gods. To be fair then to "theology" all of these other creation stories should be given equal footing with the Christian one. You could argue that none of them is beyond the possibility of being true, but is that how you would like to search for the truth of this matter?
Conservative Christianity's real dilemma is that it puts all of its eggs in the one basket, the infallibility of the bible, and that basket is getting smaller and smaller every day. If that basket is starting to spit and spill the eggs it's only because you insist on putting too much into it.
Potential answers in sequence: According to America's Funniest Home Videos, we have talking dogs, why not talking snakes; the vitamins from many fruits are being found to reduce the effects of aging, and some aid in memory retention; Chicxulub event and the fossil records from the K-T boundary shows one heck of a tsunami would have hit the world at the time; see talking snake above; "Beanstalk" space "elevator" concept; it was a whale not a fish; what do you have against unicorns; televangelists; Andre the Giant; Elvis – in fact, scrub that, try Wayne Newton instead!
Not that I'm saying any of those might be an explanation, nor am I going to clarify which answers are tongue-in-cheek 😛
Your are better than steven you know my feelings based on a post. My point is he has been very sick and has been in and out of the hospital. Within 100yrs we will all know if there is a God. If there is no God then I say yay, now we can all live the way darwin hoped, only the strong survive. Let the weak die so we can evolve properly.
Seems like we have you pegged pretty good though, doesn't it.
Practical Darwinists always make me want to send Jehovah's Witlesses around to their house.
I love you Kate see you tonight.
I get that a lot. It's the uniform, isn't it? Guys just love a chick in a Marine uniform. Who can kick their behind into the stratosphere. Where hopefully they can answer the questions Professor Hawking still has.
@ David: I always thought Darwin was about "survivial of the fittest" as in the ones who fit best to their situation will prevail over the ones who don't. Not the tougher the better...
Just caught your posting seveal back:
*mutters*..... you are going to send 'Jehov Wits' to 'my' door...! yikes...! You can stop your 'plottin' please.... 🙂
If you didn’t get the point, there’s no way you’ll understand the explanation.
Well... that is a pretty big 'assumption' on your part. Please, I would like to hear your explanation... Go ahead... give it a shot. I am a fairly bright fellow...
*hands you the tongs and bottle of BBQ sauce*
He will know if there's a God soon enough. He also said there are no black holes which was his lifes work.
You say that with such a sense of happiness about it 🙁
Technically he didn't say there were no black holes, he just said that there couldn't be black holes in the classic sense they had been understood because of the information paradox.
Yeah... I am with Kate on that.... You seemed just a bit too 'yippy' on that comment.
But, remember..... You, as well, will find out soon enough...
This whole thing is ridiculous.. THERE IS A GOD PEOPLE
Please do those of us with feedreaders a favor and go into the wordpress control panel -> settings -> reading and turn up the number of posts in your feeds from 10 to something like 100 please? WordPress will thank you for the reduced refresh load, and it makes no difference to your overheads!
The fundamental reality of God transcends human rationality.” And faith cannot be belittled into meaninglessness.
"Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every
generation may not come that far, but none comes further."
— Søren Kierkegaard
And your point is.....?
Passion is OK, but wouldn't the highest passion really become an obsession? Obsession is a harmful mental disorder. Leads to stalking people and other creepy stuff, and even worse.
Really sums up Faith, though.
Kierkegaard also said "If the Church is "free" from the state, it's all good." He was dead set against religion being involved in politics. Pretty forward thinking guy.
Depends on whether or not the emotion is directed inwards or outwards, doesn't it? Inwards is good, outwards leads to trying to blow up the Discovery Channel building.
God did not create anything because God is not real. This is a very simple concept that billions of people have trouble understanding.